Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Homemade Life

So of course after my post on Monday I whisked Will off to the library, where I checked out thirty books on the following topics: Organic farming, Country Living, Chucking it All and Moving Fifty Miles from the Nearest Grocery Store, and Living Like the Amish Do Except with Cuter Outfits.

Will checked out books about baseball and bird watching, which suggests to me, despite my concerns about children's characters and proclivities, that my husband and I have done something right.

So I've been reading my books, but they're not quite right for my state of mind, it turns out. I think it's because I want to do something now, and what I'm not going to do right this very minute is make my husband quit his job (which he'd be very happy to do, by the way), buy that beautiful farmhouse outside of Oxford that I found online, and move back to the land to raise goats and chickens.

I'm not saying that we'll never buy the long-dreamed-for ten acres. I hope we do. But for now, we're here. So how do I live a homemade life in the here and now?

All this to say, I'm working on a manifesto. I was going to call it The Suburban Homesteader's Manifesto, except it turns out there's a book called The Suburban Homesteader, so that name is taken already. Maybe I'll call it The Homemade Life Manifesto. This is what I've got so far:

1. Living a Homemade Life means making and growing as much as your own food as possible (without going crazy).

I like this idea a lot. I'm seriously thinking about investing in a deep freeze for the garage and a book about how to build a root cellar. I also want to learn how to preserve food. Bread, I do already. Pasta, I'm willing to make the straight and narrow stuff (no more ravioli!). Breakfast cereal? Who will wean Will off of Corn Chex? And what will keep him from starving to death once one of his main food groups is taken off his menu?

2. Living a Homemade Life means buying local whenever possible and eating seasonally.

3. Living a Homemade Life means making it yourself, doing it yourself, and buying as little as possible (and when you do have to buy something, trying to get it secondhand first).

That would mean weaning Will, Jack and my own sweet self off of Target, a frightening notion. But I like a challenge. Some years we make our own Christmas cards, and I like to make Christmas and birthday presents when possible.

4. Living a Homemade Life means involving your family in all the above as much as possible.

So those are my first four Manifesto entries. Here's the thing: I think they're do-able, but I also think if I tried to overhaul my life all at once, I'd go bonkers. So I'm going to do what I can, starting with food, since I've been dabbling in the art of going local/seasonal/homemade for awhile now.

I will keep you posted on further Manifesto entries as well as my success in becoming a back-to-the-land-Little-House-in-the-Big-Subdivision pioneer. Now I'm off to find a hand-cranked washing machine and a scythe. More soon.


Tracy said...

I am so with you on the same page. I reckon just 1 acre would be enough for chooks and vegies....and room for kids....and room for a Granny flat for my parents if need be (in the fartherest corner, of course!).

In the meantime, I just looked at my garden yesterday. I'm going to start with weeding and pruning and planning for the summer vegie garden.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Okay, you've got to tell me what chooks are. I'm racking my (American) brain and can't come up with anything!

Our Red House said...

'Chooks' is Aussie for chickens. We never call them chickens here, just chooks.

And I like your idea for a homemade life -- except that all my cake tins are currently packed in boxes. I'll join in after we move.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks, Kate! And thanks for stopping by--I know you're busy with your move. Hope it all goes well!

Victoria said...

I grew up on a huge sheep farm, then a small dairy farm... If my husband told me tomorrow he wanted to chuck it all in and farm I would be so into it - but, not to do any of the work myself...

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Yes, I'm counting on my husband doing all the dirty work on our farm-to-be. I'll be happy to lots of cooking with all our fresh produce and eggs, however.